Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Alberg 30 Refit: Start of Mast Support Beam Repair & The Big Surprise Revealed!

Winter has finally arrived here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country. We had a dusting of snow yesterday. The season took longer than usual to arrive but we all knew it was just a matter of time. Even with it finally here, there are still plenty of projects to do while it's cold outside.
Before we get to the winter projects, I'll show you where we are on the side deck:

It's coming along well. It will need one more layer of cloth.

Another angle of the repaired area with initial sanding work.

This is a comparison of the new reinforced/repaired area (left) and old original/half-assed repaired area (right) under the stanchion. Hopefully the difference is noticeable.

Moving onto things that can continue to be repaired when it's chilly outside. My mast support beam area has been a concern since the day I bought my boat. I knew I would fix the area someday. When I did my initial research on the Alberg 30, I learned the differences between the liner (newer) and non-liner (older) models. One of the big differences was the mast support beam. Non-liner boats had a laminated wooden beam that was known to fail. Because of this known issue, there is a plethora of information on how to repair it. As for my 1971 Alberg 30 "liner" boat, the mast support beam is not known as a weak area. It has an aluminum beam encased in the fiberglass deck somewhere. I have not been able to find any documentation on exactly how or where this aluminum beam is placed within the deck. Nor have I been able to find out just how substantial or strong the beam might be. The good news (and one of the reasons I went ahead and bought our Sal anyway) is I couldn't find any documented cases of it failing either. I did find reports that the area tends to suffer from deck compression, and indeed, Sal is no exception to that. Actually, her compression is pretty severe. This condition occurs when water gets into the balsa deck coring under the mast. What I have found on my Alberg is that not only is there a good bit of compression but the beam may be bowed also. So I will investigate further and document what I find, as well as how I plan to repair and make it stronger than new.

Here is a video I posted to show everyone what the compression and mast beam looks like on our Sal.

This is good photo showing the compression of the overhead. You will notice that the coach roof kind of flattens out, and it loses the natural curvature of the deck.  That large crack is in the liner. There could be some damage under it, which I will discover soon. There was so much compression that the liner cracked and folded on itself....for obvious reasons this is not good. 

Another pic showing how the overhead is compressed.

An aluminum plate held up against the bottom of the beam shows the bowing in this area, notice the gap on the left. I am not too sure if the bow is in the liner or the aluminum beam encased in the deck. More stuff to investigate. Additional findings to follow soon. With the colder weather here I will put a bit of heat in the boat and get to my investigative work on the beam area. Hopefully my pics and write up will help fellow Albergers that suffer the same mast beam issues.

NOW for the Surprise!


I have been going back and forth about powering our Alberg 30. In a previous post, here, I discussed our options for re-powering. I kinda knew all along that I wanted a diesel but from a budget standpoint it was just not going to happen. That is of course unless you find a nearly new one, with only 170 hrs on it, for about a third of the price of a new one. So here it is in our garage, our new-to-us Beta Marine 20hp Diesel:

It is a bit dirty because it had been sitting in storage waiting to be put to use. The previous owner had to abandon a wooden boat project, and offered up his engine for sale. He bought it used back in 2010, and would start it up twice a year until 2014. 

After sitting for 14 months, she was delivered to us this weekend by the previous owner (huge thank you Sunset). We set the ole girl on the floor and haphazardly set her up to be started. One of my conditions for purchase was to see it run.

It was cold here when we started it, 30 degrees and snow flurries. I am happy to report the Beta 20 started almost right up. After 3 or 4 long cranks to get fuel to her cylinders she happily began chugging away!

Needless to say we are very pleased at our good fortune and will put her to good use.
Thank you again Sunset for holding onto the engine until after the holidays and driving it out to us.

I will work on a more permanent cart for the engine so it can be wheeled around the garage and regularly cranked to run. A video of it running will be coming soon.

Happy New Year Everyone!


  1. Wow..fantastic Jason and Crystal..xoxoxo

  2. Nice find on the diesel. You won't be sorry to get rid of the A4. My diesel is the most reliable thing on my boat!

  3. Congratulations on the new engine. It's a beauty.

  4. best motors ever. I have exactly the same and it never misses a beat

  5. I'd consider buying some 3/8" fiberglass i-beam stock from McMaster-Carr to rebuild your mast support. Aluminum never does well in a salt water environment. Congrats on the Beta - they are sweet engines.